In a quiet North Carolina town 22 miles south of Raleigh, as a young 9-year-old girl, Paige King Johnson spent her summers under the crepe myrtles imitating the styles of Loretta, Patsy, Waylon, and Merle. Having a grandpa as her biggest fan also meant receiving the gift of her first guitar – a baby Taylor - and enrolling in lessons. After her grandpa passed, the bright-eyed dreamer carried on his memory by taking her newfound discovery to local fairs, festivals, and any other stage she was allowed to stand on. As she grew older, Johnson added “opening act” to her resume, supporting chart topping artists like Scotty McCreery, Neal McCoy, Luke Pell, and James Otto. And with high school graduation came the realization that this was more than a hobby. The Angier native traded in horse pastures and back roads for the bright lights of Music City in 2015. Upon starting school at Belmont University for Music Business, Johnson honed in on the magic that had heavily influenced her as a child: the art of storytelling thru songwriting.
“I started finding my own voice thru writing, becoming more confident, and owning the fact that my personal feelings and experiences were worth talking about, singing about, and putting on paper,” Johnson reflects.
The famous Bluebird Café was just one of many writers’ circuits around Nashville that provided a safe space for Johnson to meet other writers, try out new tunes, and get feedback. In return, Johnson began captivating audiences with her down-home stage presence, cut straight to the bone stories and raw country voice, reminiscent of the classic country era.
In the last four years, Johnson has traveled back and forth between Nashville and the Carolinas, playing shows like the North Carolina State Fair and running her dinner theatre, Country on the Outskirts of Town, that she founded in high school. Johnson’s quarterly show provides an atmosphere for locals to enjoy Southern cooking, fellowship with friends, and the sounds of classic and current country music with some gospel thrown in. A three-time Carolina Music Awards Nominee for Best Country Female Artist, Johnson’s devoted homegrown fan base continues to expand farther than just her backyard.
And now the recent college graduate is ready to spread her wings and chart new territory with grit and honesty. Her current single, “Water Down the Whiskey” channels the sensitivity of Kacey Musgraves while dishing out the unapologetic nerve of Miranda Lambert. The modern day break up tale is pouring more than just a whiskey shot with a completed fall radio tour and debut music video. Johnson’s confident ownership of her craft is a direct result of the compelling female staples she grew up on—females who have at times strayed from the mainstream path to carve their own. With a heartfelt conviction to write genuine songs she can be proud of for years to come, Johnson is ready to go down any path that calls her name – as long as she can walk it in her favorite pair of boots.
“My main goal with music is to keep it authentically me and authentically country. As long as I continue to achieve those two things, I will remain satisfied and happy on this journey, no matter where it takes me.”